What’s in a phrase?


Can you think of some examples of famous, maybe even infamous, political catch-phrases? In modern Texas politics, one that comes to mind is Bob Bullock’s signature slogan:

God Bless Texas

From 1991 to 1999 an estimated one million-plus bumper stickers were mailed to Texans with Mr. Bullock’s signature catch-phrase.  Where did it come from?  According to lobbyist and longtime Bullock aide, Tony Proffitt, the genesis of “the Bullock brand” can be traced back to the final night of the first legislative session in 1991 where Mr. Bullock presided over.  He recalled:

“The last night of the session was real hectic, and he got up and gaveled the session to a close about 2:30am.  People stood up and began clapping, and then Mr. Bullock said, “God Bless Texas.”

And soon, Mr. Bullock ended every speech with the line.  Mr. Bullock’s widow, Jan, explained, “It was more like a prayer to him.”  Mark McKinnon, who produced campaign ads for Mr. Bullock added, “It caught on because it was just a deeply rooted feeling he had and a sense of a greater purpose.”

The front side of Lt. Governor Bullock’s signature stickers.


The reverse side of Lt. Governor Bullock’s signature stickers.


Soon other Texas politicians latched on to the Bullock brand.  George W. Bush used the phrase throughout his 1994 gubernatorial campaign and Governor Rick Perry has put his own spin on the phrase, ending speeches with, “God bless this place we call Texas.”

Never trite, nor pandering, Mr. Bullock truly believed in invoking the Almighty to give thanks and ask for continued to protection of the great state of Texas.

God bless Texas, indeed.


Bob Bullock Archivist

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